The Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, is under pressure to postpone the 2011 elections, the Nigerian Compass on Sunday has learnt.
It was also gathered that pressure is being brought to bear on Jonathan to sack the leadership of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), led by its Group Managing Director, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo.
Impeccable sources told the Nigerian Compass last week that one of the pressure groups seeking the postponement of the election and the sack of the NNPC leadership is led by a prominent former federal minister from the South-South.
One of the groups, headed by the vociferous former federal minister, is said to have argued that the only way for the South-South to enjoy the “benefits” of the Presidency is for Jonathan to have his tenure extended “even if for a few more months.”
The group, according to sources, believes the South-South should use the opportunity of Jonathan’s presidency to improve the state of the region and the economic status of its indigenes.
Said a source in the Presidency, “The thinking of those in this group is that the time for the South-South has come.
“So, every opportunity is to be explored and exploited to achieve this.
“And one of such is the thinking that about one year will not be enough for the President to achieve a lot in his tenure.
“Indeed, the people have foreclosed the fact that the President, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua, can still return.”
To achieve this, the group has proposed that the need to reform the electoral process could be used as an excuse not to hold the 2011 elections in “a hurry.”
It was learnt that with the clamour for the reformation of the electoral process, it would not be a hard sell if that is used as the basis for the postponement of the elections.
When the Yar’Adua administration came into office, one of the first steps it took was to commence the reformation of the electoral process.
It set up the Electoral Reform Committee headed by a former Chief Justice of the Federation, Muhammadu Uwais.
The report of the ERC has since been submitted to Yar’Adua, who has in turn forwarded it to the National Assembly for consideration.
Part of the wide ranging reform proposed by the Uwais committee is the removal from the president the power to appoint the head of the country’s electoral commission.
Rather, it was recommended that the power should now reside in the judiciary.
But the Senate, last week, threw out the proposal.
It said the power should still reside in the president.
The group seeking the postponement of the 2011 elections and by extension the stay of Jonathan in power, believes that a strong argument for the review of the electoral process would please a lot of Nigerians.
In addition to this, Jonathan has also come under pressure to rejig the leadership of the NNPC.
The Acting President was reportedly advised to change the headship of the NNPC to reflect the area that produces oil the most.
In this regard, the group is clamouring for an indigene of the South-South to head the NNPC.
A source said, “These groups want the South-South to be in charge of the oil industry, from producing the minister to the headship of the NNPC.
“While some see this as a truly tribalistic way of reasoning because the leadership of the NNPC now is doing well, those arguing in this light believe that everything should be cornered for the South-South.”
Sources told the Nigerian Compass that it might just be only a matter of weeks before Jonathan announces the change in the leadership of the NNPC considering the pressure being put on him.
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